Rein in spending by Boilermakers' leaders
The Kansas City Star
Millions of union members throughout America are fighting hard to keep their jobs during these tough economic times.
But that pain isn’t shared by the leaders of an international union based in Kansas City, Kan. Their jobs are well compensated. And, steeped in nepotism, many family members have climbed into the union, too.
The leadership of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers are helping themselves to outsized benefits for a nonprofit.
As The Star reported Sunday, union president Newton B. Jones and several other executives have a number of family members working for the group. The newspaper listed five of Jones’ relatives who hold jobs with the union, for instance. And most are well paid.
Start with Jones, who received a salary of just over $300,000 in 2011, more than that of James P. Hoffa, who leads the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and its 1.3 million members. By contrast, Jones leads a union whose membership has tumbled from 72,000 eight years ago to just under 59,000.
But the pay discrepancy didn’t stop there. Jones and many other top leaders also cost the Boilermakers union hundreds of thousands of dollars for other expenses, such as travel. Overall, Jones had higher total salary and expenses than the leaders of the nation’s biggest unions.
The union’s defenders argue that all the executives work hard for their pay. Even if that’s true, it’s difficult to square the declining union membership with the excessive salaries and benefits for Jones and his colleagues.
The union needs to rein in its expenses, starting at the top with Jones.